While there’s no arguing WVU lost a lot when Eron Harris decided to transfer and that WVU gained a lot, and maybe more, with Juwan Staten’s decision to stay in school, there’s probably some disputing the expected contributions from ineligible forwards Jonathan Holton and Elijah Macon.
I don’t want to pour water on anyone or anything — that seems to be frowned upon all of a sudden — but the concerns are pretty clear and pretty real. At the minimum, nothing is guaranteed.
What Holton has going for him, though, is what worked against him and the Mountaineers this season.
He had to sit out the entire campaign. But he practiced. He observed. He adjusted. He was as close to the real deal as one could be and that figures to remove some of the awkwardness or the struggles that appear when a player transfers and is thrust into something right from the start.
Don’t get me wrong. He’ll still need to get his legs and adapt to the size, speed and skill and all of that and he’ll have to find and his spot and take off his shoes. But it happens faster now, right? Put it this way: It happen faster for Holton than it does for Macon, who didn’t practice or participate this season and who’s been otherwise limited by a bum wrist.
And Holton, heretofore silent on all maters, has advised fans to expect a double-double. And he made the Dean’s list in the fall. He’d like you to believe he’s ready for what’s next because he’s always been ready.
“No player who is as competitive as me wants to sit out and just practice every day. But as I was sitting out, I was getting better,” said Holton. “My teammates, my coaches kept motivating me to keep going and encouraging me to go to class, study hall, get your grades and you’ll be back next year. They kept giving me hope, hope, hope. I never lost hope.”
Losing hope isn’t in Holton’s blood. He found out at a young age that not everything in life is handed to a person. It must be fought for if it is worth having. He didn’t need to look any further than his own family to see that lesson first hand.
“I learned from my mother as a young kid. She’s got 10 kids and she didn’t have a job, so she had to really go out there and work to feed us,” said Holton. “Every opportunity I get, I try to do my best, go hard and motivate myself to be the best that I can be.”